05 September 2006


There occurred in me last night a spiritual revolution. Only, revolution is the wrong word; for revolution carries with it, connotates, something violent, abrupt and discontinuous. But this was an organic shift, an inevitable shift, towards a new countenance. Moishe's shining face.

An intelligent way of doing philosophy is to divide up the words we use and examine their usage, like a glossary. 'Natch.

Belief is something personal, and it's largely ungrounded. When the "I believe" is uttered, something is expressed, which one hardly wishes to give up. It's possible for the "I believe" to refer to something obviously false. The utterance doesn't open up itself to criticism, rather persuasion.

The "I know" is a public utterance; it raises the "I believe" to the level of community. By uttering the "I know", one opens herself up to criticism--but also praise. In this way does knowledge solidify. What interests me are different ways of transmitting knowledge, and the different circumstances surrounded the "I know". It seems to me that knowledge is acknowledgement. When the "I know" is uttered, it may then be rejected. For it to gain purchase it must be accepted. The "I know" is uttered; and acknowledgment is sought. When another acknowledges your "I know", then something like knowledge is.

Like the Arts, philosophy is practiced and crafted in order that the world--the community--gives its practitioner understanding. The transmission of knowledge (which is something like philosophy) moves in different ways. Just for example, knowledge can be taken; sought; offered; hidden; or forced upon. This last, forced upon, is a method that interests me. I don't think it's the right method, but I've somewhat given up the notion of right methods. But there is something seductive about knowledge, which is forced upon. Prophets, poets and politicians find often that forcing upon, besetting people with language, is the most efficacious means for making themselves understood. I disagree with this view. There is something I would call destructive philosophy, and something I'd call constructive philosophy; and the two would roughly correspond to the appetitive and the rational. Yet I'm tempted to regard Plato's method--dialectic--as destructive.

The inevitable shift with which I started this post has taken for me the form of a denial. To deny while cultivating beauty, God and community. Never to impose, yet never to hold back.

And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware
that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
Perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
there remains for us yesterday's street and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease
when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.